One month ago, the entertainment world and the world at large were rocked by the loss of one of Hollywood’s most promising talents when Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer, an affliction he kept hidden from the world for years. As the shock slowly begins to wear off and the outpouring of grief at his loss gives way to stories celebrating his life, one of Boseman’s co-stars remembers a particularly generous act that highlights what type of man he really was off-screen.
Sienna Miller, who co-starred with Boseman in the cop drama 21 Bridges, has recounted a story about how she asked for a certain quote to appear in the film, and the parties involved with the movie could not or would not reach that quote – but Boseman stepped in and paid some of her salary out of his own pocket because he thought she deserved the quote she was asking for.
Empire Magazine is paying tribute to Chadwick Boseman in its new issue, which contains a story from actress Sienna Miller about some behind-the-scenes dealings on last year’s 21 Bridges. Miller, who had previously been working so much that she was exhausted, jumped at the chance to work with Boseman when he came calling about that movie because they were fans of each other’s work. But when a disagreement about payment nearly thwarted things, he stepped up. Here’s Miller explaining what happened:
“I didn’t know whether or not to tell this story, and I haven’t yet. But I am going to tell it, because I think it’s a testament to who he was. This was a pretty big budget film, and I know that everybody understands about the pay disparity in Hollywood, but I asked for a number that the studio wouldn’t get to. And because I was hesitant to go back to work and my daughter was starting school and it was an inconvenient time, I said, ‘I’ll do it if I’m compensated in the right way.’ And Chadwick ended up donating some of his salary to get me to the number that I had asked for. He said that that was what I deserved to be paid.”
This came as a genuine shock to Miller, who has been acting for long enough to realize just how rare a decision like that is. “It was about the most astounding thing that I’ve experienced,” she told Empire. “That kind of thing just doesn’t happen. He said, ‘You’re getting paid what you deserve, and what you’re worth.’ It’s just unfathomable to imagine another man in that town behaving that graciously or respectfully. In the aftermath of this I’ve told other male actor friends of mine that story and they all go very very quiet and go home and probably have to sit and think about things for a while. But there was no showiness, it was, ‘Of course I’ll get you to that number, because that’s what you should be paid.’”
That kind of generosity – the kind where a decision like that is made with no press surrounding it – is practically non-existent in Hollywood circles, and it makes Boseman’s death sting all the more knowing that we lost not only a cinematic icon but a genuinely good guy.
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